This bold speech gave new courage to his soldiers

This bold speech gave new courage to his soldiers who now fought fiercely and with such success that Zhao Yun could nowhere force his way in. Yuan Shao was soon reinforced by the arrival of his main body and Yan Liang, and the two armies pressed forward. Zhao Yun could only just get Gongsun Zan safe out of the press. Then they fought their way back to the bridge. But Yuan Shao’s troops still came on and fought their way across the bridge, forcing multitudes of their adversaries into the water, where many were drowned.

Yuan Shao was leading in person and his troops still advanced. But not more than two miles, for soon a GREat shouting was heard behind some hills, whence suddenly burst out a body of troops led by Liu Bei, Guan Yu, and Zhang Fei.

At Pingyuan they had heard of the struggle between their protector and his enemy, Yuan Shao, and had at once set out to help. Now the three riders, each with his peculiar weapon, flew straight at Yuan Shao, who was so frightened that his soul seemed to leave his body and fly beyond the confines of heaven.

  His sword fell from his hand and he fled for his life. He was chased across the bridge when Gongsun Zan called in his army, and they returned to camp.

  After the usual GREetings Gongsun Zan said, “If you had not come to our help, we should have been in very bad case.”

  Liu Bei and Zhao Yun were made acquainted with each other, and a warm affection sprang up from the very first so that they were always together.

  Yuan Shao had lost that battle, and Gongsun Zan would not risk another. They strengthened their defenses, and the armies lay inactive for over a month. In the meantime news of the fighting had reached Capital Changan, and Dong Zhuo was told.

  His adviser, Li Ru, went to see his master and said, “the two active leaders of today are Yuan Shao and Gongsun Zan, who are at grips at River Pan. Pretend you have an imperial command to make peace between them, and both will support you out of gratitude for your intervention.”

  “Good!” said Dong Zhuo.

  So he sent the Imperial Guardian, Ma Midi,

and the Minister of the Inner Bureau, Zhao Qi, on the mission. When these men were arriving at the

North of Yellow River, Yuan Shao sent out to welcome them thirty miles from his headquarters

and received the imperial command with the GREatest respect. Then the two officers went to

Gongsun Zan and made known their errand. Gongsun Zan sent letters to his adversary

proposing friendship. The two emissaries returned to report their task accomplished.

Gongsun Zan drew off his army. He

also sent up a memorial eulogizing

Liu Bei, who was raised to

the rank of Governor of Pingyuan.

the farewell between Liu Bei and Zhao Yun was affecting.

They held each other’s hands a long time, their eyes streaming with tears, and could not tear themselves apart.

Zhao Yun said with a sob,

“I used to think Gongsun Zan a true hero,

but I see now that he is no different from

Yuan Shao. they are both alike.”

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Cao Cao all wet pushed on. Dawn was near. they went on another

Cao Cao all wet pushed on. Dawn was near. they went on another ten miles and then sat down to rest under a precipice. Suddenly loud shouting was heard and a party of horse appeared. It was Governor Xu Rong who had forded the river higher up. Just at this moment Xiahou Dun and Xiahou Yuan, with several dozens men, came along.

“Hurt not my lord!” cried Xiahou Dun to Xu Rong, who at once rushed at him.

But the combat was short. Xu Rong speedily fell under a spear thrust of Xiahou Dun, and his troops were driven off. Before long Cao Cao’s other generals arrived. Sadness and joy mingled in the GREetings. They gathered together the few hundreds of soldiers left and then returned to Luoyang.

  When the confederate lords entered Luoyang, Sun Jian, after extinguishing the fires, camped within the walls, his own tent being set up near the Dynastic Temple. His people cleared away the debris and closed the rifted tombs. The gates were barred. On the site of the Dynastic Temple he put up a mat shed containing three apartments, and here he begged the lords to meet and replace the sacred tablets, with solemn sacrifices and prayers.

  This ceremony over, the others left and Sun Jian returned to his camp. That night the stars and moon vied with each other in brightness. As Sun Jian sat in the open air looking up at the heavens, he noticed a mist spreading over the stars of the Constellation Draco.

“the Emperor’s star is dulled,” said Sun Jian with a sigh. “No wonder a rebellious minister disturbs the state, the people sit in dust and ashes, and the capital is a waste.”

And his tears began to fall.

then a soldier pointing to the south said, “There is a beam of colored light rising from a well!”

Sun Jian bade his people light torches and descend into the well. Soon they brought up the corpse of a woman, not in the least decayed although it had been there many days. She was dressed in Palace clothing and from her neck hung an embroidered bag. Opening this a red box was found, with a golden lock, and when the box was opened, they saw a jade seal, square in shape, four inches each way. On it were delicately engraved five dragons intertwined. One corner had been broken off and repaired with gold. There were eight characters in the seal style of engraving which interpreted read:

I have received the command from Heaven:

May my time be always long and prosperous.

Sun Jian showed this to his adviser,

General Cheng Pu, who at once recognized

it as the Imperial Hereditary Seal of the Emperor.

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they got as far as the foot of a hill in the evening about the second

they got as far as the foot of a hill in the evening about the second

watch, and the moon made it as light as day. Here they halted to reform. Just as they were burying the boilers to prepare a meal, there arose a GREat noise of shouting on all sides and out came the troops of Governor Xu Rong from the ambush fresh to attack.

Cao Cao, thrown into a flurry, mounted and fled. He ran right in the way of the waiting Xu Rong. Then he dashed off in another direction, but Xu Rong shot an arrow after him which struck him in the shoulder. The arrow still in the wound, Cao Cao fled for his life. As he went over the hill, two soldiers lying in wait among the grass suddenly dashed out and wounded his horse, which fell and rolled over. And as he slipped from the saddle, he was seized and made prisoner.

  Just then a horseman came, riding at full speed and whirling his sword up, cut down both the captors, and rescued Cao Cao. It was Cao Hong.

  Cao Cao said, “I am doomed, good brother. Go and save yourself!”

  “My lord, mount my horse quickly! I will go afoot,” said Cao Hong.

  “If those wretches come up, what then?” said Cao Cao.

  “the world can do without Cao Hong, but not without you, my lord!”

“If I live, I shall owe you my life,” said Cao Cao.

So he mounted. Cao Hong tore off his own breastplate, gripped his sword, and went on foot after the horse. Thus they proceeded till the fourth watch when they saw before them a broad stream, and behind they still heard the shouts of pursuers drawing nearer and nearer.

“This is my fate,” said Cao Cao. “I am really doomed!”

Cao Hong helped Cao Cao down from his horse.

then taking off his fighting robe and helmet,

Cao Hong took the wounded man on his back and

waded into the stream. When they reached the further side,

the pursuers had already gained the bank whence they shot arrows.

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the Land Within the Passes, or Guanzhong, was the area surrounding

the Land Within the Passes, or Guanzhong, was the area surrounding Changan.

In the ending years of Wang Mang’s usurpation, rebels ran the country. The Red Eyebrows rebels were one of the most active of the robber bands. They finally captured Changan, and Wang Mang was killed in the fighting. ……

Yang Biao, Minister of the Interior, said, “I pray you reflect. The Land Within the Passes* is all destruction. There is no reason to renounce the ancestral temples and abandon the imperial tombs here. I fear the people will be alarmed. It is easy to alarm them but difficult to pacify them.”

“Do you oppose the state plans?” said Dong Zhuo angrily.

Another official, Grand Commander Huang Wan, supported his colleague, “In the era of Recommencement (AD 23-25), Fan Chong of the Red Eyebrows rebels burned Changan to the ground and reduced the place to broken tiles*. The inhabitants scattered all but a few. It is wrong to abandon these palaces here for a wasteland.”

  Dong Zhuo replied, “the East of the Pass is full of sedition, and all the empire is in rebellion. The city of Changan is protected by the Yaohan Mountains and the Hangu Pass. Moreover, it is near Longyou, whence can be easily brought timber, stone, brick, and building materials. In a month or so palaces can be erected. So an end to your wild words!”

Yet Minister of Works Xun Shuang raised another protest against disturbing the people, but Dong Zhuo overbore him also.

“How can I stop to consider a few common people when my scheme affects the empire?” said Dong Zhuo.

That day the three objectors——Yang Biao, Huang Wan, and Xun Shuang——were removed from their offices and reduced to the rank of commoners.

As Dong Zhuo went out to get into his coach, he met two other officers who made obeisance. They were the Chair of the Secretariat, Zhou Bi, and the Commander of the City Gates, Wu Qiong. Dong Zhuo stopped and asked them what they wanted.

Said Zhou Bi, “We venture to try to dissuade you from moving the capital to Changan.”

Dong Zhuo replied, “You two persuaded me to give Yuan Shao office. Now he has already turned traitor, and you are of the same party!”

And without more ado he bade his

guards take both outside the city

and put them to death. The command

to remove to the new capital immediately was issued.

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“Who dares go out to give battle?” said Yuan Shao.

“Who dares go out to give battle?” said Yuan Shao.

“I will go,” said Yu She, a renown general of Yuan Shu, stepping forward.

So Yu She went, and almost immediately one came back to say that Yu She had fallen in the third bout of Hua Xiong.

Fear began to lay its cold hand on the assembly.

then Imperial Protector Han Fu said, “I have a brave warrior among my army. Pan Feng is his name, and he could slay this Hua Xiong.”

  So Pan Feng was ordered out to meet the foe. With his GREat battle-ax in his hand, Pan Feng mounted and rode forth. But soon came the direful tidings that General Pan Feng too had fallen. The faces of the gathering paled at this.

  “What a pity my two able generals, Yan Liang and Wen Chou, are not here! then should we have someone who would not fear this Hua Xiong,” said Yuan Shao.

  He had not finished when from the lower end a voice tolled, “I will go, take Hua Xiong’s head, and lay it before you here!”

  All turned to look at the speaker. He was tall and had a long beard. His eyes were those of a phoenix and his eyebrows thick and bushy like silkworms. His face was a swarthy red and his voice deep as the sound of a GREat bell.

“Who is he?” asked Yuan Shao.

Gongsun Zan told them it was Guan Yu, brother of Liu Bei.

“And what is he?” asked Yuan Shao.

“He is in the train of Liu Bei as a mounted archer.”

“What! An insult to us all!” roared Yuan Shu from his place. “Have we no leader? How dare an archer speak thus before us? Let us beat him forth!”

But Cao Cao intervened. “Peace,

O Yuan Shu! Since this man speaks

GREat words, he is certainly valiant.

Let him try. If he fails, then we may reproach him.”

“Hua Xiong will laugh at us if we send a

mere archer to fight him,” said Yuan Shao.

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then they went out to look at the horse. Cao Cao was profuse

then they went out to look at the horse. Cao Cao was profuse

in his thanks and said he would like to try the horse. So Dong Zhuo bade the guards bring saddle and bridle. Cao Cao led the creature outside, leapt into the saddle, laid on his whip vigorously, and galloped away eastward.

Lu Bu said, “Just as I was coming up, it seemed to me as if that fellow was going to stab you, only a sudden panic seized him and he presented the weapon instead.”

“I suspected him too!” said Dong Zhuo.

Just then Li Ru came in and they told him.

“Cao Cao has no family here in the capital but lodges quite alone and not far away,” said Li Ru. “Send for him. If he comes forthwith, the sword was meant as a gift. But if he makes any excuses, he had bad intentions. And you can arrest him.”

  they sent four prison warders to call Cao Cao.

  they were absent a long time and then came back, saying, “Cao Cao had not returned to his lodging but rode in hot haste out of the eastern gate. To the gate commander’s questions he replied that he was on a special message for the Prime Minister. He went off at full speed.”

  “His conscience pricked him and so he fled. there is no doubt that he meant assassination!” said Li Ru.

  “And I trusted him so well!” said Dong Zhuo in a rage.

“there must be a conspiracy afoot. When we catch him, we shall know all about it,” said Li Ru.

Letters and pictures of the fugitive Cao Cao were sent everywhere with orders to catch him. A large reward in money was offered and a patent of nobility, while those who sheltered him would be held to share his guilt.

  Cao Cao traveled in hot haste toward Qiao, his home county. On the road at Zhongmou, he was recognized by the guards at the gate and made prisoner. They took him to the Magistrate. Cao Cao declared he was a merchant, named Huang Fu. The Magistrate scanned his face most closely and remained in deep thought.

Presently the Magistrate said,

“When I was at the capital seeking a post,

I knew you as Cao Cao. Why do you

try to conceal your identity?”

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tender grass, Flushes with joy as the swallows pass;

“Spring and the GREen of the

tender grass, Flushes with joy as the swallows pass;

tender grass, Flushes with joy as the swallows pass;

The wayfarers pause by the rippling stream

, And their eyes will new born gladness gleam;

With lingering gaze the roofs I see Of the

Palace that one time sheltered me.

But those whom I sheltered in all righteousness,

Let’s not stay in silence when the days pass useless?”[yip, yip, yip]

the messenger, sent by Dong Zhuo from time to

time to the palace for news of the prisoners,

got hold of this poem and showed it to his master.

“So he shows his resentment by writing poems, eh! A fair excuse to put them all out of the way,” said Dong Zhuo.

Li Ru was sent with ten men into the palace to consummate the deed. The three were in one of the upper rooms when Li Ru arrived. The Emperor shuddered when the maid announced the visitor’s name.

Presently Li Ru entered and offered a cup of poisoned wine to the Emperor. The Emperor asked what this meant.

“Spring is the season of blending and harmonious interchange, and the Prime Minister sends a wine cup of longevity,” said Li Ru.

“If it be the wine of longevity, you may share it too,” said Empress He.

then Li Ru became brutally frank.

  “You will not drink?” asked he.

  He called the men with daggers and cords and bade the Emperor look at them.

  “the cup, or these?” said he.

  then said Lady Tang, “Let the handmaid drink in place of her lord. Spare the mother and her son, I pray!”

“And who may you be to die for a prince?” said Li Ru.

then he presented the cup to the

Empress once more and bade her drink.

 She railed against her brother, the feckless He Jin,

the author of all this trouble. She would not drink.

Next Li Ru approached the Emperor.

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He will certainly abandon Ding Yuan’s service for yours.”

Dong Zhuo could not reply for Lu Bu,

eager for the fight, rode straight at him.

Dong Zhuo fled and Ding Yuan’s army came on.

The battle went in Ding Yuan’s favor,

and the beaten troops retired ten miles and made another camp.

Here Dong Zhuo called his officers to a council.

“This Lu Bu is a marvel,” said Dong Zhuo.

“If he were only on my side, I would defy the whole world!”

At this a man advanced saying, “Be content, O my lord!

I am a fellow villager of his and know him well:

He is valorous, but not crafty; he will let go principles,

when he sees advantages. With this little,

blarneying tongue of mine, I can persuade him to put up his hands and come over to your side.”

Dong Zhuo was delighted and gazed admiringly at the speaker.

It was Li Su, a general in the Imperial Tiger Army.

“What arguments will you use with him?” asked Dong Zhuo.

“You have a fine horse, Red Hare, one of the best ever bred.

I must have this steed, and gold and pearls to win his heart.

Then will I go and persuade him.

He will certainly abandon Ding Yuan’s service for yours.”

“What think you?” said Dong Zhuo to his adviser Li Ru.

“One cannot grudge a horse to win an empire,” was the reply.

So they gave Li Su what he demanded——a thousand ounces of gold,

ten strings of beautiful pearls, a jeweled belt,

and Red Hare——and these accompanied Li Su on his visit to his fellow villager.

Li Su reached the camp and said to the guard,

“Please tell General Lu Bu that a very old friend has come to visit him.”

He was admitted forthwith.

“Worthy brother, have you been well since we last met?”

GREeted Li Su while bowing.

“How long it is since we last saw each other!”

replied Lu Bu, bowing in return. “And where are you now?”

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“Go to the General and confess your faults,

“Go to the General and confess your faults,” said the Empress.

“If we did, then should we be cut to mincemeat!

Rather summon the General into your presence

and command him to cease.

If he will not, then we pray but die in your presence.”

Empress He issued the requisite command.

He Jin was just going to her when Secretary Chen

Lin advised him not to enter, saying,

“the eunuchs are certainly behind the order and mean your harm.”

But He Jin could only see the command of the

Empress and was oblivious to all else. Said he,

“Clearly, this is an edict from the Empress. What harm?”

“Our plot is no longer a secret,” said Yuan Shao.

“Still you may go if you are ready to fight your way in.”

“Get the eunuchs out first!” said Cao Cao.

“Silly children!” said He Jin.

“What can they do against the man who

holds the forces of the empire in his palm?”

Yuan Shao said, “If you will go,

then we will come as a guard, just as a precaution.”

Whereupon both Yuan Shao and Cao Cao chose

five hundred best men under their command,

at whose head they placed Yuan Shu, a brother of

Yuan Shao. Yuan Shu, clad in mail, drew up

his troops outside the Forbidden City’s entrance,

while Yuan Shao and Cao Cao, holding swords, went as escort.

When He Jin neared the Palace of Happiness,

the officers from the Inner Bureau said,

“The orders are to admit the Regent Marshal and none other.”

So the escort was detained outside.

He Jin went in proudly. At the Gate of Grand Virtue,

he was met by Zhang Rang and Duan Gui,

and their followers quickly closed in around him.

He Jin began to feel alarmed.

then Zhang Rang in a harsh voice began to revile him:

“What crime had Empress Dong committed that she should

have been put to death? And when the Mother of the

Country was buried, who feigned sickness and did not attend?

We raised you and your paltry, huckstering family

to all the dignity and wealth you have,

and this is your gratitude! You would slay us.

You call us sordid and dirty: Who is the cleaner?”

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the improper influence allowed them by the emperors and

What Cao Cao said was this:

“the eunuch evil is of very old standing,

but the real cause of the present trouble is in

the improper influence allowed them by the emperors and

the misplaced favoritism they have enjoyed. But a gaoler would

be ample force to employ against this kind of evil, and getting rid of

the main culprits is quite enough. Why increase confusion

by summoning troops from the regions?

Any desire to slay all of them will speedily become known, and the plan will fail.”

“then, Cao Cao, you have some scheme of your own to further,” said He Jin with a sneer.

Cao Cao left the meeting, proclaiming, “The one who throws the world into chaos is He Jin!”

then He Jin sent swift, secret letters far and wide to several bases.

It must be recalled that Dong Zhuo had failed in his attempt to

destroy the Yellow Scarves rebellion. He would have been punished

if he had not bribed the Ten Eunuchs heavily for their protection.

Later, through connections in the capital, he obtained rapid promotions

from General to General of the Front Army, to Lord of Aoxiang, to Imperial

Protector in the western region of Xizhou and Commander of

an army of two hundred thousand troops. But Dong Zhuo

was treacherous and disloyal at heart. So when he received the

summons to the capital, he rejoiced GREatly and lost no

time in obeying it. He left a son-in-law, Commander Niu Fu,

to look after the affairs of Xizhou and set out for Luoyang.

Dong Zhuo took with him a huge army and four

generals——Li Jue, Guo Si, Zhang Ji, and Fan Chou.

Dong Zhuo’s adviser and son-in-law, Li Ru, said,

“Though a formal summons has come,

there are many obscurities in it.

It would be well to send up a memorial stating plainly

our aims and intentions. Then we can proceed.

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